'Robots, frogs, Quorn beer and the UK trading in human lives'

A freeform week for news

A week in news - Credit: PA/Quorn/Brewdog

This week we’ve had a Google employee suspended after claiming his computer program might have feelings, Brewdog is making a Quorn beer, a mass grave of frogs has been discovered, and our country is sending people seeking our help to Rwanda.

“History does not repeat itself but it does rhyme,” Mark Twain may or may not have said. This week the news has gone découpé (cut-up technique, beloved of Burroughs and Bowie).

That LAMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) told the employee that it feels “happy or sad at times” should not cause anyone to lose sleep. After all, it is a language model for dialogue applications (ie, it is designed to mimic conversations). Congratulations on passing your Turing Test though.

I’m a vegetarian beer drinker who likes trying new tastes, and I’m eyeing Quorn beer with suspicion (and curiosity).

I have no idea why someone would have buried the bones of 350 frogs near Cambridge a couple of thousand years ago, unless English chefs were ahead of the culinary game. 

And as for putting asylum seekers on a plane to Rwanda, well, it's hard to know where to start.

On Tuesday, foreign secretary Liz Truss described the plan as "completely legal" and "completely moral”. 

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It's her job to sell the thing, but such absolutes set alarm bells ringing.

Oh and it is "value for money", she said, admittedly when confronted with a potential £250,000 cost for the first flight.

The argument goes that the plan will "start to break the business model of these appalling people traffickers who are trading in misery".

Is this even true? With the perils already facing people seeking help, what will this really contribute to their decision making?

Furthermore, the government is both arguing that Rwanda will be a safe haven and using it as a deterrent. 

The policy represents a resurgence of the ugly politics of Brexit, trading on people's fears and, by doing such deals with other countries, trading in human lives.

It shames us. What would LAMDA think?